tv Amanpour on PBS PBS December 22, 2017 12:00am-12:31am PST
>> welcome to this edition of amanpour on pbs. tonight as president trump racks up some end of year victories, what does the man who helped put him on the map have to say? tony schwartz, coe author of the art of the deal joins me live. plus, new year, new world order. my conversation about the trump effect with the former head of british intelligence, mi 6. >> amanpour on pbs was made possible by the generous support
of rosalin p. walter. good evening and welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in london with the global view. hard to believe it's been just a view since president trump took office, much ink has been spilled these past 11 months trying to analyze what drives trump. long before he was even a twinkle in republican eyes, the writer tony schwartz was commissioned by the young real estate developer to write his first book. he spent 18 months with donald trump. the art of the deal became a bestseller and defined trump's image. tony schwartz joins me now from new york. welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> i just want to ask you what you think as you sit there sort of taking in this year. did you ever think the man would be president and did you ever think this is how the year would
end with this legislative victory after the ups and downs? >> two questions you asked. the first one is no, i never imagined that he would be president. it was inconceivable to me even up to 7:30 the night of the election. that's a simple answer. in terms of how the year is ending, you know, this has been a year of so much pain for me and for most americans that one more horrible event, no, i'm not enormously surprised. >> you say so much pain. your old editors called you doctor frankenstein for putting donald trump on the map. why so much pain? it was a bestseller and you defined a bid. >> well, in some sense it's self evident. this is a man who is putting the future of civilization at stake. he is a danger to the republic
and i knew deep in my heart that that's exactly what he would be if he were to ever become president and i was not responsible for it, but i was one of the people who definitely influenced his rise. his celebrity. i have spent a long time, the first 30 years after i read the book trying not to talk about it. once he started to run for election, i felt my penance would be to talk to anyone who wanted to interview me about what i knew about this family. >> let me ask you now again, 11 months on and there is a major victory. there hasn't been this kind of tax reform since reagan and even democrats were saying there needs to be tax reform. there is a lot of debate as to whether this actually helps those who he promised to help, the left behind, but beyond that i want to ask you to listen to a
selection of praise and sound bytes from his vice president and other members of the party as they signed this and as they were welcoming this tax bill. >> do i have to? >> thank you for seeing through the course of this year an agenda that truly is restoring this country. >> mr. president i have to say that you are living up to everything i thought you would. you are one heck of a leader. >> something this big, something this generational, something this profound could not have been done without exquisite presidential leadership. mr. president, thank you. >> thank you, president trump for allowing us to have you as our president and to make america great again. >> i see a skeptical look in your eyes, mr. sha warts. why so? >> it makes me want to vomit.
literally. those sound like toadees in a banana republic, particularly pence. this is in no way a victory for the american people. it's a victory for a tiny, tiny percentage of people who need no tax cuts. billionaires. and 90% or i don't know the exact number of the tax cuts go to the richest americans and the biggest corporations. i mean it's an assault on democracy and only increases the very thing that got trump elected which was the inequality. i have always felt that trump would betray those who voted for him and that's exactly what he's done. >> let's see how it plays out. the conservative policies as you know is that there is these tax breaks for those who create jobs and that hopefully will trickle down. as you say, we will wait to see whether that indeed happens with
the wages and jobs increase, but i do want to -- >> we are at virtually full employment. the idea that is creates more jobs is irrelevant. so go. >> the conservative newspapers, the financial newspaper has in fact called it a high stakes republican wager on exactly what they are promising at home. yes, many in the conservative ranks believe it is a big gamble. if it pays off, it pays off. i want to ask you this. playing off those sound bites and what you said about it, you actually spent 18 months following him arund. did you notice his subordinates treating him in the yes, sir sort of manner? is that what happened all his career, all his life? is what he expects? >> on the one hand he did not broke dissent even as a 35-year-old middle level real
estate developer in new york. innocent he was a more relaxed human being. the stakes were lower. he was getting the kind of attention that he actually wanted. people called him donald. nobody calls him donald development. i do, but nobody in his world calls him donald. >> do you talk to him? >> power corrupt. >> i don't anymore, but i refer to him as donald. the last time i talked to him was the day that he got nominated for president at the republican convention and a piece about my views was just about to come out in the new yorker. he called to tell me, by himself, that i had been disloyal. his idea of loyalty is you are loyal to him. not he is loyal to you. >> i'm going to try to drill down a little bit more because obviously there are lots of complaints. let me ask you to comment on this. it is often being said and i am reading for a british columnist
who is exploring the politicians whether it's brexit or in the united states. today's politicians have no experience outside politics, but they do. bush jr. ran a baseball club. and trump played a successful business man on television. along the way they learned a skill their predecessors mostly lacked, performing on mass media. that have you to hand him. >> i do. it's inarguable that enough people have been mesmerized by his tv presence, though the majority of americans voted against him. a very high percentage of people chose to vote for somebody who had no real credentials to run for president other than being a reality show star. so yes, he has been able to exploit that media that we are on right now very, very
effectively. no question. >> this led to populism that led to a sort of denial of experts and again this says populism polarized. they selected people for their loyally to the cause. we spoke about loyalty in the trump era. what are your predictions for the next year of the presidency? how do you think this is going to roll out and roll on through 2018? >> i have believed for quite sometime and continue to believe -- i'm a little bit of a lone wolf on this, but that trump will not be president during some point in 2018. i thought it would end sooner. i think the primary reason is that mueller will indict him for at a minimum obstruction of justice. i think it will turn out that the array of charges against him will be enormous. my actual belief is he won't last. in the meantime, people will continue to stream out of the white house and he will have to
find other people to replace him at a time when it's dangerous to do so given the lawsuits the legal actions that are pending against him. i don't see this as a hopeful period. i'm holding my breath in a sense that a catastrophe doesn't happen until that presidency can end. obviously i feel like it's a strong opinion i'm sharing. >> it is obviously a strong opinion and some might say you are in the minority when when it comes to the environment. we will wait to see how it plays out. i want to ask you finally, are there any redeeming qualities that you as the definer of donald trump as the promoter of donald trump for better or for ill as far as you are concerned, are there any redeeming qualities or anything you like about him? >> there were some very modest qualities i found reasonably appealing when he was 35 years old and i first met him.
you know, he could be fun. he could be -- he could wink his eye at his own. that's long gone. the only quality that remains and it's not a virtue, but relentlessness. he will puff and puff and eventually blow you down. the reason he will blow you down and the greatest fear i have is he makes you numb because he never stops coming at you. >> all right. tony schwartz. author of art of the deal. coauthor. thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> and almost a year since the inauguration of president trump, the planet is transforming in other ways with the american super power slowly retreating for global leadership. that's what a lot of world leaders are saying. the vacuum is creating a new world order. i just sat down with the former head of british intelligence and
the chief john sawyer. he has been british ambassador to egypt and based in new york as ambassador to the united nations. i asked him about the looming challenges of 2018 and also about what went right this year. >> john sawyers, welcome to the program. i want to ask you as we close out this year what you think are the biggest threats and the biggest challenges. i want to be a little provocative because you said in israel no less, that you thought one really had to take into account the challenges posed by president trump and specifically you said that the biggest threat to the world as you see it is how we all adjust to the progressive withdrawal of responsible american leadership. you think trump is the biggest threat to the world. >> i'm not saying that, but i'm saying president trump is bringing a new approach to america's role in the world.
he has said himself he wants to put america first. most american presidents for the last 70 odd years have seen america's role as the stabilizer of the international system. the guarantor of peace and stability and as far as open markets. that's what we used to call american exceptionalism. america was exceptional because it was not serving his national interest. we have an america which is overwhelmingly the national interest. other countries have to adapt to that. >> okay, so if you are an american or if you are in brexit britain, you would say what is wrong with that? surely that is better for me, citizen of the us. >> i'm not saying it's necessarily right or wrong. i regret it because i think america was really respected, powerful, admired nation.
american values were em ulted and aspired to. we are coming to the end of that. we're seeing america acting like a powerful nation state assuming its own national interest. that's america's choice. president trump was elected by the american people in part because of the new approach that he put forward. >> so let's move that on because we are speak now a few days after president trump unveiled his view national security strategy and that focused quite heavily on a little bit of what you are saying in that president trump and his administration believes that the three-decade quality from super power rivalry is actually going to come back on the table. how do you read that? is that china, russia, the united states all rivals now and seeking out the kind of stuff we saw in the cold war time? >> i think there is something to
it. there was an article in the financial times a few months ago. the world is developing away in which china and the united states are going to be two crucial global powers and they have to operate alongside each other. we are not in a world dominated by the united states and allies and others like russia and china are on the frinchls. you have a world where china and the united states have to engage with one another and resolve an address international issues whether it's the piece of stability or trade or climate change. they have to address the issues together. russia is assertive. other countries like india and japan and europe and britain are significant powers. the three major ones are chine a the united states and russia are going to be operating more like traditional major powers just with one another and cooperating in certain yarps and confronting
each other. that's a different world than one for the 17 years. >> do we want to live in a china-led world? >> no. we would rather live in an american-led world. the reality is that china's economy and purchasing power is great. all over beyond this region. >> i think china has a strategy for the 21st century. that strategy is to become the leading global power in the ur asian continent. it's a fantastic economic opportunity, but it has a global strate strategy. the united states can't wish it away and pretend it can remain the global power. it's a new reality that china and the united states are coe global powers and have to find a way to coexist and solve
together global problems rather than butting up against other and confronting. >> president trump actually spoke very moderately with moderation when he delivered the executive summary. y actual 55 pages contains very harsh language about china. the strategic competitor and taking america for a ride and having an unfair program. if you were china, what would you be thinking at a time when america wants to you help tame north korea? >> first of all i think china sees the trump presidency as more of an opportunity than a threat. i think they believe that they can deal with president trump and thou play him. this is a big strategic opportunity for china to displace the american power influence around the world. if you go to european capitals, you ask what is the most important. they will say international
trading system. we agree with china on that and they will see the rules-based order where america is moving away from that. they will say climate change where they're standing away and china is on the consensus. i'm not saying that europe has more in common with china than america, when you look at crucial policies of the chinese america and the american administration, the policies are closer to china's than america's. that's wrong and has took addressed. >> how? >> it's really about america recognizing what the long-term global interest is. it can't be right that america is pursuing bilateral trade balances around the world and not looking at the global trait balances. it's given a massive boost for
the transpacific partnership. >> sheer alone in international opinion in thinking that and the other nations see it as a huge advantage for china that the united states is just giving them. let me ask you. the big looming threat and you would agree is north korea. that is probably going to be our 2018. consumed by north korea. >> i think it is the most dangerous combustible crisis we have to manage. >> i wonder what you make of reporters coming out since there has been meetings and rex tillerson has been talking about. the united states and china have started to have contingency talks military to military that took place in washington last month about how they would jointly deal with the potential conflict or collapse of north korea. rex tillerson has talked about it and apparently they assures the chinese that they would never occupy north korea and
retreat back south of the 38th power. this is amazing detail coming out. >> this is very important that it happens. one of my concerns in the last six months has been thinking in washington is going down a path that said containment is not actually realistic or desirable for america. either they have to back down and gree the negotiation deal or we will have to confront north korea and have a day of reckoning which is a euphemism for a military strike. where as in beijing my sense is that they don't really believe that the americans are serious about a military strike. they think this is a bluff to get them to take -- to offer sanctions against north korea. that mismatch of expectations is really dangerous because you could then have a situation where america launches a strike and china is not ready for it.
in this dangerous situation of course we must all press the north koreans to get into an negotiation that means they stop short of having an ability to land the nuclear weapon on the continental united states. i think it's unlikely they will back down. it's ever more important that china and the united states are involved in intense discussion not just of things that could go right by the diplomatic negotiation, but things that can go wrong where china and the united states will be military presence in the same theater and they are both desperate to avoid a repeat of the 1950s where they ended up in direct confrontation. >> hr mcmaster this week is saying we are committed to a resolution of this crisis, but he would not say they were committed to a peaceful resolution. you have been at the table in the run up to the iraq war and other such negotiations.
how do you stop this getting to afternoon iraq war situation and a negotiated settlement? can you see the parameters of a resolution to this crisis. >> there are a number of ways to be resolved short of the military confrontation and i don't believe on north korea in 2017 we are in the position we were in iraq in 2002. in 2002 america was set for the invasion of iraq. it was a question of how and when. that's not the with north korea. >> you have 30 seconds to tell us what is going right in the world. >> there are a number of important marks in the world where we are seeing progress. in saudi arabia we have a new leader who is bringing about much needed reform trying to address the problem. that's important. they made mistakes in the region and having a new directional reform is important. i think in south africa we have seen a new very much more modern minded business friendly leader
elected as head of the afc. in argentina, a country has been mired in populism and under performance and a leader in place for over two years. they were taking argentina in a more dynamic direction. these are not global powers, but they are important regional countries taking them down the road. they were going down 15 years for major strategic and regional powers to be turning a corner and becoming more democratic and more market oriented, delivering goods for their own people. that's good for global peace and security. >> britain was a major power. no matter how you look at it, it's punching above its weight and important at any table whether it's nato or the un. brex brexit? >> my country is getting to a difficult period. i think brexit is a mistake.
that's a backwards step, but it looks like it's going to happen and we will have to address the economic impact and the impact on our standing in the world. at least in the short-term it will be negative. i don't think it's impossible. we went through a difficult period in the 60s and 70s and we recovered. we had a dynamic economy and had powerful global leaders like margaret thatcher and tony blair and invested in military and intelligence and diplomacy and in our development programs. you have got to have a powerful economy, respected leaders, and the means to make an influence in the world in order to be a recognized powerment we are going through a difficult period. our partnership with america and the american people will survive the arrival of new politics represented by president trump or brexit. >> and the special relationship. how does that survive given the britain first tweets and the war of words he is having with the mayor of london and an unpopular
present overseas plans to come to britain in the new year according to the white house. how do you think he will be received on the streets and at the palace? >> it's important that american and british leaders are not just on the phone with face-to-face visiting each other's countries. of course president trump because he's controversial figure, but it's right that he should come and hear it firsthand the criticism from america's closest allies about reason yes we have concerns about the direction of america. he should come and the relationship should be close. in my time at the un as ambassador abroad and a policy director and the chief of intelligence, i had my most intense exchanges with my american counterparts. we had some of our biggest disagreements in america working with allies and fighting
alongside allies is eye difficult business. the depth of that relationship and the cultural affinity we have and the approach we take to intelligence and evidence-based solutions and to the common values we have will prevail. >> that are say good note to end on. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> our tour of the world earlier this week and that's it for our program tonight. thanks for watching amanpour on pbs and join us again tomorrow night.
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